tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN December 25, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EST
and running now -- and wringing out the bad stuff. "i am not going to bother." which is kind of -- we just kind of cower. could you talk about that? we're at a new does that come from -- where in you does that come fromm? >> >> it depends on the circumstances but knowing that perhaps by making a decision
that will not sit well with other people or they may not agree at the time and i believe, based on my knowledge, my experience that that is the right thing to do, i will keep with it. a will continue to work down that path and help to explain to other people why i believe that, if there is any fax, if there is a new reasons why my belief is so strong. it is hard to get there but once you get past that, people will tend to respect you. i think that helped me in a particular matter when there was a major emergency disaster that took place in a imine a couple of years ago and folks said you did not need to go out there. hello? 29 people just died. >> your advice was that you
don't need to go there? >> i felt that i cannot save their lives but i can talk to the spouses and our field staff and find out what happened and where our resources were. >> why in the world would they tell you not to go? >> for whatever reason. i went against the advice and i went. it was the best thing i could have done because it also lifted up the spirit of my employees and give more credence to our organization. it said we are not afraid and we're not just a bureaucratic agency. we have sensitivity. we have people who work for us who are supposed to be there helping protect these people. it really broke through new ground for us. >> let's take another question -- it is great to have these kind of specifics. go ahead and identify yourself
-- >> i am an international baccalaureate. thank you for your comments and you have a lot of wisdom and forgiving as a glimpse into the human side of things. with as many women who have reached panicles of their career and for those like yourself, is there a new path beyond that? once you reach the pinnacle, what can we expect to see of women who have accomplished a lot? do you retire into personal life or is that there are some other pathway once they leave their position? >> what are you going to do next? >> the women i have come across have -- who have also reached those high platitudes, they
continue to be active, for the most part. i think this new environment, be it political or social environment has changed. people want to do more. sometimes people will do it as volunteers. want to be part of a cause. the one to be part of the solution. if there is a problem out there, a social problem, they want to help. i can see more people, more women, doing that. we should be talking about this and engaging more people. i think there are a lot of women leaders who would be happy to help impart their knowledge and experience. 20 years ago, there were not forums like this. he did not have the secretary of labor like me. these were things that occur but they did not happen by accident.
a lot of people have been working to help make this a reality and it is a reflection of what is happening in our country. i have to give a lot of credit to our president and people like speaker nancy pelosi and senator barbara boxer and supervisor glory molina. >> would you go back into elected office? >> there is a lot of issues i care about -- health care, health care disparities, environmental justice, that is a big issue and will continue to be until we look at how we can regulate - >> you would probably take on some of these causes? >> i would hope so. obviously, i care about immigration reform. the president worked on helping the young children. i went to school with a lot of
those types of individuals and continued to see many of them who are our brightest stars, who are educated and want to be so much a part of the american dream. just because they don't have a paper that says they are here legitimately, most don't know any other country, this is their home. >> we have some students and they will ask questions later. as a bit of advice for high- school teenage kids to want to work at the white house or would like to be in the president's cabinet sunday, what do you say to them? what is important for them to remember? >> volunteer, get involved in your community, i mean that. whether you are applying for college or jobs, people want to know where you put your priorities. are you volunteering for a cause? are you helping our neighborhood? are you tutoring? what are you doing with that
extra time you have? i think that is really important for young people in high school. attach yourself to other folks that you want to learn from. it is not so much about being in the 'in' crowd because that changes, is about being prepared. >> were you popular girl? >> i don't think so. [laughter] >> are you popular in the, and now? >> no comment. [laughter] if >> what is the best part of your job? what you love about what you are doing now? >> finding solutions, being able to bring a new voice -- to lend a voice and in the air to circumstances that might not
have ever heard that voice. that is why it is important to have more women and more diversity and it is important to have nuances that have not been heard before. that is what is so important and makes our government and our policies active instead of bureaucratic and flat. that is why i look for in people. i look for that energy. >> thank you, you have a lot of energy, secretary hilda solis, we're glad you came. [applause] c-span3 c-span2 >> by the time i was 9 years old, was handing out leaflets for robert kennedy and then i broke with the democratic party. i went to work for john lindsay who is running for mayor of new york. i went down to the liberal party to work for him i was handed out leaflets on the street corner in new york.
some woman thought this was cute, this little boy handing out leaflets and chest and why and i made the case for john lindsay and got an early start on my political consulting career and made the case against his opponent as well. she said that is so cute and she handed me a box of pastry, a white box with string, and it took a back to the liberal party headquarters and we opened it up and there was all these doughnuts and a wad of $10 bills. in one of my early lessons and politics, the district's lawyer grabbed the mom -- grab the money and said you can keep the donuts. [laughter] >> david axelrod to night on his life in politics. at 10:45, growing up in the white house with susan ford bales and lynda robb. >> house speaker john boehner
let the capitol christmas tree. this year's tree is from the colorado white national forest. >> good evening, everyone. and welcome to the 48th annual capitol christmas tree lighting ceremony. i am the architect of the capitol and i am honored to serve as your master of ceremonies tonight. for everyone's safety, we ask that you stay in your seat until the conclusion of the program. >> every year, i look forward to this event to officially kick off the holiday season here on capitol hill.
and even though the weather doesn't feel like it's december 4, nothing says christmas like the playing of festive holiday carols. i would like to extend a special thank you to the united states air force band under the direction of peter foliard and created this great and festive holiday mood. let's give them a hand, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> and behind me stands the u.s. capitol's christmas tree, a majestic 73-foot spruce from colorado's white river national forest. [cheers and applause] >> and in keeping with tradition, the speaker of the house, the honorable john boehner, will extend his
holiday greetings to you and officially light this remarkable tree in a few moments. but before we get to that big moment, i'd like to welcome members of congress and distinguished guests, our capitol hill neighbors and those of you who are visiting our nation's capital. thank you for joining us this evening. i would like to acknowledge members of the colorado delegation in attendance this evening including senator mark udall, senator michael bennett, congressman scott tipton as well as former senator ben nighthorse campbell. [cheers and applause] >> and senator campbell, of course, drove that tree 5,500 miles to washington dis-- d.c. [cheers and applause]
>> now this incredibly beautiful tree has been decorated with ornaments crafted by colorado residents which reflect the theme celebrating our great outdoors. and speaking of ornaments, the u.s. capitol historical society produces a beautiful one to place upon this tree. and at this time, i would like to welcome its president, mr. ronald serrison. [applause] >> thank you very much. and ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker, it is our pleasure, the u.s. capitol historical society every year to produce an ornament placed on this tree. it is important because it is our 50th anniversary. the society was founded in 1962. it is a scene, a winter scene of the capitol dome with snow
and so forth. very beautiful. you can purchase it at www.uschs.org. thank you very much for allowing us to be part of the program. >> thank you, ron. [applause] >> thank you so much, ron. and for more than 40 years, the u.s. forest service and architect of the capitol have partnered to bring a christmas tree to the capitol from one of our nation's 155 national forests. i would like to specifically thank the dedicated forest service staff from both here in washington and in colorado who helped make this event possible. and let's give them a round of applause. [applause]
>> joining us this evening is the honorable sherman, under -- harris sherman. secretary for natural resources and environment at the u.s. he has a holiday message to [applause] >> speaker boehner, senators udall and bennett, congressman tipton and distinguished guests, on behalf of the secretary, tom vilsack and our chief of the forest service, i would like to say a few words if i can. each year, the capitol christmas tree comes from the u.s. forest service, which is an agency within usda and eachier we -- each year we select that tree from a different forest. this tree is from a small town called meeker, colorado in the
white river national forest in the high mountain areas of colorado. and it's a spruce tree and 73 feet tall and happens to be 74 years old. it's only the third time in colorado's history that colorado has provided the capitol christmas tree and i'm particularly proud of that since i'm a colorado resident. yay, colorado! [cheers and applause] >> we call this the people's tree for good reason and that's because it comes from our public lands, which are owned by all the people of the united states. and these are lands that provide recreation, wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air and the opportunity to connect with the great outdoors. so this occasion tonight also gives us the opportunity to recognize some of the challenges that we have with our national forests, particularly the wildland fires we
experienced last summer and the bark beetle. this tree reminds us if we work together and restore the health and the resiliency of these ecosystems, we can produce a new generation of healthy trees that will grow to be as magnificent as the tree behind me. we can work together at the local and national level and private-publicershs and we can work together to bring this tree to you tonight. as we celebrate the holiday season, i ask that we take a moment to remember our brave men and women in our armed forces, a high proportion of them are from rural america and many of them are overseas today away from their homes and families so we can be safe and free. we thank them for their service. thank you very much.
[applause] >> thank you so much. this tree has been on a tremendous journey. in fact, it traveled 5,500 across the country from colorado. and just nine days ago, the tree arrived here on the west front of the capitol and our dedicated capitol grounds crew went to work to decorate it. didn't they do a fantastic job? [applause] >> let me also thank our capitol grounds superintendent who had the tough task of selecting just one tree from the many beautiful trees found in the white river national forest. next, ladies and gentlemen, it's my honor and pleasure to introduce congressman scott tipton.
he has been serving the people of the 3rd district of colorado in the u.s. house of representatives since 2010. congressman tipton. [applause] >> thank you, steve. i would like to thank the secretary for his kind comments and i think it's important to note in addition to our united states senators, we are joined by the entire colorado delegation. our members of congress, diana degette, jared polis, cory gardner and congressman perlmutter. thank you all for being here as well. i had the great privilege to be with our former senator in the shadow of the rocky mountains where this tree once stood and we now have the high privilege of standing in the shadow of the capitol of the united states of america to be able to celebrate this season.
when we went to carve that tree, we were joined there by members of the ute tribes. they are inherent to our area. the people of the ute tribes, they have a word that things are good -- to make sure that all is good. native american culture, it's about wind, about the sky, the land, and water. comes. this tree, which will represent the spirit of the state of colorado and indeed our nation speaks also to the importance as the secretary noted of forest health. in the state of colorado, we have many challenges this last summer, with wildfires that destroyed property and indeed took lives. the importance of our forests we cannot overstate.
proper responsible management to be able to get in and deal and create these healthy forests is essential for the beauty of our state and our nation. i would like to express to you from the people of the great state of colorado who are so proud to be able to have this tree represented in our nation's capitol, their heartiest merry christmas and happy holidays and god bless you all during this holiday season. [applause] >> it's my high honor to be able to introduce a colleague and friend and senator from the great state of colorado, michael bennett. [applause] >> thank you everybody. it may not look like it, we are voting on the defense authorize age built.
-- defense authorization bill. my job is to get from here to there before they close it and senator udall will follow me and give you a more proper talk. let me first say welcome to the rest of the colorado delegation and welcome to everyone who is to washington, d.c., for this great night. all i want to say is thank you. there are people back in colorado who made it possible from officials working on the white river national forest to our native american friends and congressman tipton mentioned, to ben nighthorse campbell, who drove this truck across the country in a mack truck. those who are familiar or not familiar with a mack truck don't think it will fit, but he made it happen. when it came to denver, my kid'' first question was, dad, why can't you drive that truck? so thank you for that, senator campbell. and i want to say a profound thank you to speaker boehner
and for the architect of the capitol who organized this event. this was a ton of work for a lot of people in our state. we are very proud of this tree being here and on behalf of the state of colorado, let me make the offer that we would like to do this every single year. finally, it's a great honor for me and it is and this isn't political talk, to introduce my senior senator, my friend, somebody -- there is no greater champion for forest health, special places in our state than mark udall. but he outdid himself when he went on a survey to find not particularly this tree, but a suitable tree, to stand here in front of the capitol years and years of mountaineering made that possible. which give you the senior senator from the state of colorado, mark udall. [applause]
had to vote right. fire already cast my vote. we will conference the defense authorization and get it to the president's desk. but we are here to celebrate the people's tree and that term was coined by one of the speakers, great predecessors, tip o'neill, he was here and lit the michigan tree and he declared that it would be an emblem of peace for the nation and the world. and that's exactly the purpose among many that this tree rements. -- represents. since 1970, every capitol christmas tree has been cut from national forests from across our great country.
this year,it is 73 feet. engel man spruce has been cut from the white river national forest in meeker, colorado. and this has been a statewide celebration when we were chosen as the state from which the tree would come this year and i'm really glad to be here with you tonight. i want to express my gratitude to the ute tribes that are represented here today. their homelands were 1,500 years, they lived in these lands. i would like to acknowledge the utes, because they are a wonderful part of our state and[applause] >> i have a long speech and normally, i would shorten it because it would be cold out here. for every degree under zero, your speech has to be reduced by one minute, but we do have a
wonderful warm evening in which to celebrate this very important and moving event. i want to thank a number of participants who were involved in coordinating tonight's event. mack trucks, the colorado tourism office [applause] >> national association of convenience stores and vail resorts. these organizations all played a significant role in helping choose outdoors, which is the name of the organization and the national forest service to safely deliver this magnificent spruce from our own white river national forest. i'm proud to welcome fourth generation cheryl st. john, the winner of this year's art contest with our entry "awaiting spring." which has been inspired by the white river national forest. cheryl's appreciation for nature and environmental preservation artwork.
congratulations are also in order for the winner of the capitol christmas tree song competition, lindsay lawler who wrote the song "standing tall." she is going to follow me and you will be very moved by this song and the way in which she will sing it to us. let's give her a round of [applause] >> as i conclude, i hopefully don't have a long speech, i want to conclude in the same vein that congressman tipton and others, as we gaze upon the beauty of the people's tree may we stand here and remember that this tree is a symbol of our mission to protect and cherish our forests and there is important work to be done to ensure our forests remain vibrant. we have seen in our state the effects of climate change from ongoing drought to weather conditions that have
contributed to devastating wildfires and i look forward to working with my colleagues in congress to address this challenge. in just a few minutes, we will see ryan shuster flip the switch and officially light the 2012 united states capitol christmas tree. he is an eagle scout and shares my great love for the out of doors. i met your mother and father earlier today and what an honor for you to be part of this. as i make way for the speaker, i had a great 10 years in the house. some days, i miss the house, mr. speaker. i want to again thank you for being here and i hope you get a chance to see the beautiful ornaments up close. over 5,000 of them and hand made by the children of colorado and adults from corner of colorado to the other. so think of it as a way of wishing you a happy holiday
season from colorado. as we close out 2012. thank you again for including me. we are proud to have the tree here from the great state of colorado. and i'll turn it back over to [applause] >> thank you so much, senator udall. and now it's my pleasure to introduce, ms. lindsay lawler. she is the winner of the u.s. forest service song writing contest to create the official song for the capitol christmas tree and will be singing her original composition "standing tall." lindsay. [applause] >> thank you. this is a privilege to be here and i have never been here to washington, d.c., and it's my birthday. so this is pretty special and privilege to be here with you. merry christmas.
standing tall godly heavens angels above power -- rooted in love. protect the great land for us all be a light in the dark dark starts to fall standing tall standing tallstanding tall like the soldier who laid down their life so we all have the freedom we all have the right to believe in this dream for us all
thank you so much. merry christmas. [applause] >> wow! that was magnificent. ladies and gentlemen, it's now my privilege to introduce the speaker of the house, john boehner has served the people of the 8th district in ohio and in congress since 1990 and held numerous leadership roles over the years. in january, 2011, he became the 53rd speaker of the house. ladies and gentlemen, the
honorable john boehner. [applause] >> well, steve, let me just say thanks to you and your team and the architect's office and the grounds crew have done a great job inputting this together. and let me thank the colorado delegation for being here. i would take credit for the weather. [laughter] >> but i thought the senators would do it before i did. [laughter] >> lindsay, great job and i'm glad we have nice weather so you could wear that pretty dress without having to put a big overcoat on it. let me say thank you to all of you here tonight. this great spruce has traveled many miles. thanks to ben and his partner who brought the tree from colorado here. it's christmastime and it's the splendor of this tree calls to
mind the star of bethlehem and the chance of the angels announcing a humble birth in a manger. the birth of christ fulfilled, the prophecy of salvation and giving a weary world a chance to rejoice and we will bring light to the tree that flour issues as a symbol of everlasting life. this tree will bring light to us, opening our hearts a little more to the needs of our neighbors and the conven ants we have made with one other. the celebration of christmas is not merely a story that occurred a long time ago. i think the real mystery is having that story reborn in our souls just as the shepards were stirred by the angels singing "glory to god in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill toward men."
i offer you this simple phrase. god bless us, everyone. and from my family to yours, merry christmas. [applause] >> enough of the talk and enough of the speeches, let's get on with lighting the tree. senator udall introduced our guest tonight. he is ryan shuster from colorado springs and he is a high school senior, more importantly, he's an eagle scout. so ryan, why don't you come up here and join me. there he is. there he is. button your coat. [laughter] >> ryan, pictures last forever. now, here's the switch. lead us in a countdown starting with five.
>> thank you so much speaker boehner. and thank you,the colorado congressional ryan. united states air force band and for all of us of this year's lighting of the u.s. capitol tree. i wish you a merry christmas and a good night. [cheers and applause] captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] ♪ [joy to the world]
past year. after that, first lady michelle obama shows the children the white house holiday decorations. >> the time i was 9 years old, i was handing out leaflets for robert kennedy and when i was 10, made a big decision and broke with the democratic party and went to work for john lindsay who was running for mayor of new york but i would not work for him as a republican. i went down to the liberal party. i was handing out leaflets on a street corner in new york and some woman thought this was really cute, this little boy handing out leaflets and she asked me why and i made the case for john lindsay and got an early start of my political consulting career and made the case against his opponent as well. she said that as of june and she gave me a box of what looked to
be pastry, a white box with a string. i took a back to the liberal party headquarters and we opened it up and there was all these donuts and take what of $10 bills. one of my early lessons in politics, the district leader grab the money and said you can keep the donuts. >> tonight at 8:00, david axelrod on his life in journalism and politics. that is followed at 9:30 by all five of new hampshire is all women delegation. then growing up in the white house. that is tonight on c-span. >> president obama and the first family participated in the 90th annual christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this month. the tradition of a national christmas tree started in 1923 with president calvin coolidge. [applause]
>> merry christmas, everybody! >> it is great to see you all. happy holidays. happy holidays, mr. president. >> is it time? i think it's time. i hope everybody is ready. we have to do the countdown. starting with five -- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- [cheers] ♪ ["o tannenbaum" plays] ♪ >> merry christmas, everybody.
people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. we pray that you will save us from violence, discord and confusion, from pride, arrogance and fear of each other, defend our liberties and people the multitudes brought here out of many nations and languages. we pray that you will shower with your life giving spirit those to whom we have entrusted the authority of our government, that there may be justice and peace at home and that we may be a blessing to all the nations of the world. in the time of prosperity, fill our parties with thankfulness and in the day of trouble let us not lose our trust in you. let this national tree be a reminder that in some inexplicable way you are standing with us at all times.
all this we ask in your most holy name, amen. >> good evening. on behalf of the national park foundation and national park service it is a great privilege to present the national christmas tree lighting. just steps from here 90 years ago this grand tradition began as a small group of people gathered together to celebrate the holiday season in our nation. through the years the tradition has continued, in times of peace and war and times of prosperity and hardship. steadfast for 90 years we have come here. tonight we gather again to honor this moment and this place. it's part of the great american story. our nation is woven together by moments and places such as these, each with a unique story to share, places that tell the
world around us like death valley and yellow stone. and the place honor as well as come rate our greatest sacrifices, the statute of liberty, pearl harbor, flight 93, these places, these stories are protected by the national park service. however, these places do not exist if not for you. the dedicated individuals throughout time that have gathered to safe guard and share the story of america. now in our 45th year the national park foundation is proud to carry on this legacy. it's a non-profit partner of the national parks. we invite you to join us in telling the story of america so
that these moments and special places are here tomorrow and for generations to come. now, here to share a story of the season, please join me in welcoming the first laid of the united states of america, michelle obama. [applause] >> thank you. you're such a gentleman. >> thank you. >> how are you doing? >> we're going to read a story. read? christmas." turnsre going to take this year, ok. you ready? >> yes. >> "'twas the night before christmas when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. by the chimney with care, in hopes that st. nicholas soon would be there. >> the children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. >> and mama in her 'kerchief and i in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. >> when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, i sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. i flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. >> the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below. >> when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. >> with a little old driver so lively and quick, i knew in a moment it must be st. nick. >> more rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name! >> "now dasher! now, dancer!
now, prancer and vixen! on, comet! on, cupid! on, on donner and blitzen! >> to the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" >> as dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky. >> so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys and st. nicholas, too. >> and then, in a twinkling i heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. >> as i drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney st. nicholas came with a bound. >> he was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. >> a bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
>> his eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! >> his droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. >> the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. >> he had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly! >> he was chubby and plump a right jolly old elf, and i laughed when i saw him in spite of myself! >> a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know i had nothing to dread. >> he spoke not a word but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings then turned with a jerk. >> and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod up the chimney he rose! >> he sprang to his sleigh to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. >> but i heard him exclaim 'ere he drove out of sight --
>> 'merry christmas to all and to all a good night!'" [applause] >> mr. president and first lady and first family and all of you who are here, on behalf of the entire united states department of interior and park service, we are honored to be here with all of you this christmas season, a tradition today that dates back 90 years and a tradition that brings us to this special place to light our nation's spirit of peace, hope, and joy. from coast to coast from sea to shining sea, the national park service weaves together the tapestry that helps us tell the story of all of america and all of her people. presidents park is one such thread in this great tapestry. thank you to the men and women
of the national park service who protect our natural and cultural heritage for ourselves and future generations to enjoy each and every day. you are the guardians of the 398 crown jewels that come price america's best ideas. tonight we come together yet again in this national park with family and friends to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of this very special season. what started here with a few thousand people almost 90 years ago, this event is now watched by millions and millions of people all around the united states and around the globe. so this evening let us welcome in the season of joy, once again, resolving to be peace makers and resolving to care for those around us, especially those who are in the greatest need. tonight we are blessed as a nation to have a president
barack obama as the leader of our nation and as the leader of the free world. in him i know a heart that delineates the great example of christ whose birthday we celebrate across this world. in the president i know a man whose life of service started a long time ago helping those who were voiceless have a voice to live their god given potential. and today as president of these united states, he works hire easily every day in the spirit of service for all of the people of our nation to help build the world where all of god's people will have the opportunity to live their lives showered with the blessings endowed upon them by our creator. so it is with great, great joy
and pride that i am honored to introduce to all of you the 44th president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] ♪ [nutcraker jazz] >> merry christmas, everybody. michelle told me to be brief because she wants to hear music. thank you for that generous introduction and for your dedication to protecting our natural resources. i want to thank the whole national park foundation and the national park service team for helping to put on this beautiful production. let's give a big hand to neil patrick harris and this
evening's performers for putting on a fantastic show. and i want to thank all of you for joining us in this tradition. >> we have been lighting the national christmas tree for 90 years now, in times of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, we've always come together to rejoice in the christmas miracle. but our tree has been having a hard time recently. this is our third one. our long standing tree was lost in a storm. and then its replacement didn't take hold. goes to show nobody's job is safe here in washington. [laughter] but i feel good about this one. it was planted just days before hurricane sandy and it made it
through the storm in one piece. now we know that some of our neighbors to the north saw a more ruthless and destructive sandy. and this holiday season is especially difficult for families who lost everything in the storm. it's also time for us to be grateful for the thousands of men and women in the storm's path that show us that americans will always be stronger than the challenges we face. as i did before thanksgiving i can't help but tell a story of their holiday spirit. in midland beach, new york, on a street lined with businesses devastated by the storm, a big christmas tree shines out of the darkness. just a couple of weeks ago as impacted families were seeking some sense of getting back to
normal, one local nursery donated the tree and another chipped in for the lights and star. and 70-year-old tom and his long-time buddies from the area planted it at the end of the street overlooking the town beach. as tom says, the tree has one message -- it's christmastime, not disaster time. and tom is right. for centuries the message of christmas, of peace and goodwill to all has guided millions of people around the world through good times but also through bad times. this year is no different. it's a chance for all of us to open our hearts to the least fortune among us. to remember what christ taught us that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. that the simplest gives wring the greatest joy.
it's a chance to count our blessings and give thanks to our service members who defend them. for americans from all backgrounds and beliefs may this season remind us of the spirit that united states us as citizens. and may every tree across the country shine as a beacon of hope for all americans. so on behalf of the entire family, i'd like to wish each and every one of you a very merry christmas and a peaceful and joyful holiday season. god bless you and god bless [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> as president obama begins his second term in office, what is the most important issue he should consider for 2013? >> if you are in grades 6-12, you can make a video about that. >> this is your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. it is $50,000 in total prices and the deadline is coming in january. for more information, go to student camp.org. >> just a moment, it is the christmas edition of "washington journal." after that, michelle obama shows children the holiday decorations and georgia will later talks about the relationship between religion and politics. in 45 minutes, it looked at the biggest foreign policy events of 2012.